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Asian forces join hands to fight disasters

world Updated: Jun 08, 2007 14:08 IST

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The armed forces of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have voiced their intention of better cooperation in international disaster relief operations.

Military officials from the ten ASEAN nations and three East Asian countries exchanged views and offered suggestions on the cooperation this week at a seminar held in the capital of north China's Hebei Province.

It was the first dialogue on disaster relief by armed forces within the ASEAN plus three (10+3) framework, with participants suggesting mutual trust, better coordination and effective information sharing.

The year 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of "10+3" cooperation mechanism, which used to focus more on economic and trade areas and is expanding to security and culture fields.

The seminar stemmed from the five proposals put forward by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the 10th "10+3" summit in Cebu, Philippines, in January.

Participants in the seminar, which ended on Thursday, discussed their respective stances and policies, coordination mechanism for international disaster relief between armed forces and local authorities, organization and command of disaster relief and legal system construction.

They also exchanged experiences on the relief operations in major natural disasters in the region in recent years, such as the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004.